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Inside this issue
Franchised Dealers Set Third Straight Throughput Record
10 Automakers Eye Engineering Firm, Ex-Regulator for Takata Airbag Probe
GM: $93M Paid So Far From Compensation Fund
GM Financial's New System Will Boost Credit Apps
Daimler Eyes Growth as Mercedes Steps on Gas
U.S. Fuel Economy Improves for First Time Since August, Report Shows
Honda, Subaru Airlifting Parts Amid West-Coast Port Labor Talks
Europe's Auto Market Growth Set to Slow
Click here for more auto industry news at NADAFrontPage.com. .
Top Stories
Franchised Dealers Set Third Straight Throughput Record

Franchised dealers are selling, and selling fast, as they set an all-time record for new-car sales per store for the third straight year in 2014. According to Urban Science’s Automotive Franchise Activity Report, franchised dealerships sold an average of 941 new units each last year, based on vehicle sales of 16.5 million. "Sales throughput for dealers has achieved another record level due to a great sales year and a stable dealer count. This is the third year in a row that this record has been broken," said Mitch Phillips, global director at Urban Science. "2015 looks promising. With a stable dealer count, as we have seen over the past several years, and the strong sales forecast which the industry is now predicting, we could see this record broken again."
Source: Auto Remarketing
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10 Automakers Eye Engineering Firm, Ex-Regulator for Takata Airbag Probe

A consortium of 10 automakers led by Toyota Motor Corp. plans to hire an independent engineering firm and a former top U.S. auto safety regulator to investigate a rash of problems with airbags supplied by Japan's Takata Corp., the group said on Wednesday. The carmakers want a forensic engineering firm "to address the technical issues with Takata airbag inflators," Toyota spokeswoman Julie Hamp said in a statement on behalf of the group, which refers to itself as the joint initiative. David Kelly, a former acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is the lead candidate to coordinate the probe, said people familiar with the effort. The automakers have recalled more than 14 million vehicles with defective airbags since 2008. Takata said it has agreed to support the industry consortium in its investigation.
Source: Reuters

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GM: $93M Paid So Far From Compensation Fund

General Motors Co. has paid $93 million through its compensation program for those killed or injured as a result of defective ignition switches, according to a regulatory filing released Wednesday. The company also said it can't predict how much a series of government investigations into its delayed ignition switch recall may cost. GM previously said it expected the independent program to cost the company $400 million, but that it could be as much as $600 million.
Source: The Detroit News

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GM Financial's New System Will Boost Credit Apps

GM Financial is developing technology that will enable it to accept consumer credit applications on General Motors’ websites and the websites of GM dealers. The goal is to help consumers search for vehicles within the price range for which they have been preapproved while making the credit approval process easier and faster, said Will Stacy, senior vice president for digital and technology services at GM Financial, GM’s captive finance company. Once the feature is in place this summer, GM Financial will be the preselected finance company, funneling more credit applications directly to the captive.
Source: Automotive News
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Daimler Eyes Growth as Mercedes Steps on Gas

German luxury car maker predicts buoyant demand in U.S. and China

Daimler AG predicted significant growth for this year thanks to buoyant car demand in China and the U.S., despite a decline in profit in the fourth quarter because of charges. Operating earnings will rise by more than 10% this year and sales by more than 5%, Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche said on Thursday. Strong sales of Mercedes-Benz’s flagship S-class sedan and a full stable of new and refurbished models are helping Daimler’s car division catch up with rival German luxury car makers BMW AG and Audi AG. Stuttgart-based Daimler aims to retake the top luxury spot by 2020. Mercedes will step on the gas this year, introducing four new or refreshed sport-utility vehicles and a new ultraluxury Pullman sedan. “Daimler is on an upward curve,” Mr. Zetsche said in a statement.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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U.S. Fuel Economy Improves for First Time Since August, Report Shows

The average fuel economy of light vehicles purchased in the U.S. improved last month for the first time since August, increasing 0.3 mpg, according to a monthly report by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. The report, by researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle, said that the average window-sticker value of new cars, SUVs, vans and pickups sold in the U.S. in January was 25.4 mpg, up from 25.1 in December. “Vehicle fuel economy has generally been declining since last summer, likely in response to the declining gas prices,” Sivak told Automotive News. “We think that the improvement in vehicle fuel economy in January likely reflects the leveling off since mid-January in the price of gasoline.”
Source: Automotive News
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Honda, Subaru Airlifting Parts Amid West-Coast Port Labor Talks

Japanese carmakers including Honda Motor Co. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. are shipping some auto parts to the U.S. by air to bypass a labor dispute at West Coast ports that is delaying deliveries. Honda and the maker of Subaru cars started the airlifts late last month on concern that stalled talks between dockworkers and ship operators could slow deliveries enough to hurt production, the carmakers said. Union-led work slowdowns could shut the U.S. West Coast’s 29 ports in five to 10 days, the head of the shippers’ association said, urging the union to accept a new offer that includes 3 percent raises.
Source: Bloomberg
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Europe's Auto Market Growth Set to Slow

Demand for new cars should grow again in Europe this year but not as fast as it did last year, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. ACEA, as the association is known, said on Thursday it expects registrations of new cars, a proxy for sales, to rise about 2%, edging closer to the 13 million mark. “Our optimism about this early sign of recovery must be tempered with caution, given the economic uncertainties still facing many countries,” ACEA President Carlos Ghosn said. Mr. Ghosn is also the head of French car maker Renault SA. Last year, new passenger car registrations rose 5.7% to 12.6 million units from the year before, representing a return to growth for the European car market for the first time since the financial crisis began in 2007.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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Quotable

"Sales throughput for dealers has achieved another record level due to a great sales year and a stable dealer count. This is the third year in a row that this record has been broken."

   
-- Mitch Phillips, global director at Urban Science, commenting on franchised dealers setting third straight throughput record in 2014, Auto Remarketing, Feb. 4

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